Complete String Quartets 4
The Quartetto di Cremona have chosen for their fourth volume of the Beethoven complete string quartet cycle two works forming a portal within the quartet writing of this composer and Vienna transplant. Beethoven opened his Op. 18 set with the Quartet in F (1798/99), written at the behest of his patron and friend, Prince Lobkowicz. Even within the framework of the traditional form, Beethoven's first published quartet achieved a maximum of moods and stylistic variety. Beethoven's Quartet Op. 131 in c (1826), generally perceived as a peak within his chamber music, is entirely different, much more eccentric and "experimental". Seven sections of diverse tone and character are played without breaks in-between; a brooding fugue stands alongside a sensitive adagio, a folk tune presto is next to a restless finale. Internationally renowned for their "extremely mature and lyrical sound" (Strad), the Quartetto di Cremona grace the stages of the most prestigious venues. Their dedication to their craft is on consistent show through their music-making.